Good News Postcards. This was a concept I was first introduced to while I was teaching at the middle school. It was a practice that grew out of our 8th grade team setting up some ‘good news conferences’ during Parent-Teacher Conference days. The idea was and still is pretty simple: each week we (our teacher team) picked 2 students, 1 male and 1 female, who stood out for doing something positive- it could have been related to academics, an act of kindness, etc., and sent home, to his/her parents/guardians, a note that simply mentioned the student’s name, good deed, and that it was great having him/her as a part of our classroom community.
While the entire process from start to finish had to take no more than 15 minutes once a week, the positive outcome seems to last a lot longer. Throughout my career, I have continued to try to keep this tradition going (I will admit, some years I let the post cards slip).
I have collected an email folders full of letters, notes, phone calls, etc. of everything from parents saying this was the first time they ever had a positive note about their child come home, to grandparents mailing a hand-written letter of thanks with a picture of the Good News Postcard hanging on their fridge, to a student sending an email thanking me for ‘making their parents so happy that they shortened her grounding to one week instead of two’.
While I do not always hear how the post card was received at home, I do know it is a GREAT way to end the week on a positive, uplifting note. It keeps me grounded in the fact that while there are some tough cases and overly intense parents that can bog down the day to day of teaching and put a damper on things, these are usually fewer than I sometimes may think. It is also a great reminder of why we got into this business in the first place, the students.